Medical Uniforms NZ - Feb 2022

Is yours an Active Workplace? Here’s how to make it one.

It’s a very sad irony that healthcare workers are all too often harming their health by spending the majority of their 8-hour (or longer) standing in uncomfortable positions or sitting at a computer. You certainly don’t need a reminder of all the damage that does to your muscles, bones, and the rest of your body just as you are needed to help others get healthier.
 It’s a management/business problem too since all the aches and pains translate right into sick days and workplace inefficiency. So what can you do? The easiest and quickest fix is to promote an active workplace. Here’s how.

Set the place to set the pace

You don’t have to have a Master’s in Feng Shui to arrange the workplace in a way that encourages fitness. For example, have enough space in the breakroom for people to stretch. Make sure the staircases are well-lit and comfortable to use (climbing up/down a couple of flights of stairs is already quite the exercise). Some of the best exercise doesn’t look like “exercise” but gets the job done. 

Aotearoa Bike Challenge

Take it outside

Do people in your organization get together after work to play some tennis, netball, indoor soccer, touch rugby, roller derby? Ok, this one may sound like cheating because it’s not “at” the workplace. But it’s within your power of encouraging health among your workforce. You can sponsor your workers’ team, put up posters of available pick-up games, include updates about it in your meetings and internal newsletter. Maybe even have a monetary allowance for team dues?

Actually, there is the Aotearoa Bike Challenge happening in February. It’s simple and free: just use it to encourage people at your workplace to bike. As much or as little as they can. In this weather, a bike ride could easily be both healthy and pleasant.

Alternatively, alternate

Sitting all day isn’t healthy. Standing all day isn’t healthy? But alternating among the two is much better. Try encouraging this by having comfy furniture in key places and tasks that require one to walk to a printer (no, do not make the printer intentionally slow to make people stand longer — it’s slow enough as is). Have meetings? Alternate between sit-down ones and standing/on-the-go ones.

Dancing it up at work

Fitness break?

You’ve probably seen the videos of a Chinese company having every employee line up before their shift and do some exercises together. While that may be a bit too radical for most, maybe a less formal and more voluntary fitness break is something you can do? With so many quick and fun workouts (including dancing ones) available for free, it’s easy to do something quick, fun, and healthy daily.

Water up

Pretty much nobody gets enough hydration in general, let alone in the workplace. And the effects of dehydration on productivity and generally feeling well are pretty evident with the naked eye. If you don’t have the proverbial water cooler, now’s the time. It’ll also get people to get up from their desks and walk a bit — win! 

Dancing it up at work

Finish line

As you can see, most of these suggestions are simple and don’t cost a lot of money. And at the end of the day, a well-hydrated workforce with fewer aches and pains makes fewer mistakes and takes fewer sick days. It also makes for great water cooler conversation.